detoxed guts happily gurgling seratonin

If you see me during the month of June and I look even remotely happy, it’s because I’ve given up on a diet.

Diet isn’t exactly the right word for what I’m putting myself through. It’s not a “diet” in a conventional sense. I’m not trying to lose weight. It’s more of a “gut detox.” At least that’s what the doctor called it.

I’m not eating anything good, even by my standards. I’m only about one week into it, and I’ve got three more to look forward to. No soy products, no dairy products, no corn products, no oranges. Nothing made with wheat, meat, peanuts, eggs, chocolate, or sugar. No coffee, tea, beer, or wine. No processed foods. Everything that makes life worth living, in short, is off the list. I could handle being a vegan — I did it for about five years – but I’m finding this really rough. Lots of rice and veggies, and a few scoops a day of a sand-like powder that I try to choke down suspended in lukewarm tap water. That’s what I have to look forward to every morning.

The idea, at least in theory, is that, once my guts are roto-rooted out, I’ll be making more serotonin. Seratonin’s the neurotransmitter that’s credited with giving us humans — at least us “normal” humans – a sense of well-being. This may not surprise a lot of you, but I don’t make much of the stuff. I took a blood test a few weeks ago and it barely registered. But this new doctor of mine said that there might be hope. He told me that 90% of serotonin isn’t made in the brain, where you might expect it to be made, but “in the guts,” and suggested that I might be able to boost production there by cleaning myself out. So, I’m trying to give this detoxification thing a shot.

And it’s slowly killing me.

And, to make matters worse, it might all be for nothing. According to a doctor friend of mine, there’s no evidence that serotonin made in the guts has anything at all to do with the serotonin used by the brain. Still, I figure it’s worth doing. Even if it doesn’t lift my spirits, at least I’ll have sparkling clean bowels.

Speaking of not-quite-accepted medical thinking on brain chemistry, another doctor I know has suggested that I start taking something called 5-HTP, which is apparently a precursor of serotonin. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of evidence to back it up, but there’s a chance that taking it will boost my serotonin production as well.

I wish there was a way that I could just suck serotonin out of healthy people. I like the idea of being a serotonin vampire. Maybe I’ll write a book about it someday.

Anyway, God have mercy on your soul come July 1 if you find yourself between me and nachos. I intend to be involved in a frenzied orgy of gluttony involving cheese, beer and ice cream from sun up to sun down. I swear this to you…. I will not rest as long as cheese is within my lurching range.

[This post was brought to you by the John McCain Appreciation Society, the Ypsilanti public school system, our old friend Dick Cheney, witch doctors in search of albino body parts, and terrorist fist jabbers worldwide.]

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  1. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    So, any changes in stool consistency?

  2. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    My doctor prescribed a miracle drug to regulate my seratonin levels.

    It’s taken orally throughout the day, and rather than having to avoid beer it actually greatly enhances the enjoyment of alcohol!

    My doctor said something about some possible negative side effects, but I can’t seem to remember exactlywhat they are.

  3. Sonic Reducer
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    The Atkins diet worked pretty well for me, both for weight loss and mood, and luckily allows you to eat as many happy people as you like. Why just vampirize seratonin when you can consume the whole darn thing?

  4. js
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Ah, 5-HTP. Yes, it’s a precursor, and yeah, in my experience it helps buffer the seratonin dip on the morning after MDMA. But, and I realize this has urban-legend sourcing, my mother’s neurologist recommends against it. There’s a lot of delicate machinery up in the brain, and they’re not exactly sure how the body converts 5-HTP, and it may lead to a long-term deficiency in internally produced seratonin.

    Plus, most of it is made in places like China, which means that the euphoria could just as likely be lead poisoning.

  5. Lisa
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Ah yes, I remember doing a diet like this. I don’t know that it did much for my mood (other than making me really grumpy for a month), but it did have the effect of completely eliminating a lifelong excessive fondness for anything sugary.

    I have a friend who swears that this vitamin & mineral supplement was the only thing that made a difference for her (and several family members):

  6. Paw
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    If you’re shitting out stuff like this, you have to post it.

    It’s comedy gold!

  7. Oliva
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Between the promising sound of the Web address ( and the other special hope taking root thanks to a new politics, we can all feel some uplift (yes we can!). (A guy working at Trader Joe’s said he’s definitely noticed people are suddenly nicer since the weekend–a coincidence? He said customers have been more polite, do more of their own bagging, etc. Empirical evidence!)

    A friend goes for regular colonics treatments (over at Wellness Ctr., I think it’s called–on Broadway in A2) and says she feels euphoric afterward, full of energy. Can buy 5 visits and get a package deal. Might be a shortcut to a similar effect as the diet?

  8. mark
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Just to be clear, I’m not taking stuff that will lead to my shitting out what looks like a 7-foot section of thick, seaweed-knotted rope. (Thanks for the photos, though.) And I’m not going to be starving myself, or getting any colonics (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And the sand-like stuff I’m taking is just made up of your regular run of the mill vitamins and minerals. So don’t worry about me. I’m just complaining because I miss bread, beer and bacon. It’s really not all that drastic of a diet. It just eliminates all known allergens and stuff that I shouldn’t be eating anyway.

  9. mark
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    And, JS, you’re right about the 5-HTP being made in China. That kind of freaks me out too.

  10. mark
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    The good news is, this gave me a great idea for the next Shadow Art Fair… I’m going to have an “Amateur Colonic” booth.

  11. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Of course, the worst thing that could happen is this will be widely successful and you’ll have to deprive yourself of beer and bacon for the rest of your now painfully long healthy life.

  12. Brackache
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    …but you’ll be super-seratonin happy all the time, and won’t need to blog anymore.

  13. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I predict, by July 1, “Amelie” will replace “Night of the Hunter” for a showing at Riverside Park and all God’s precious unicorns will get to keep their heads.

  14. mark
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of a poem… something about, “if you can keep your unicorn head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”

  15. Rawhead Rex
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Chin up, mark. Life is meaningless and everything good dies, and that’s okay for some reason.

  16. Furball
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    “By analysing blood samples from the lovers, Dr Marazitti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients.” –source cited

  17. Furball
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like someone may just need a new lover.

    (Yes. That link is really fron from You can’t run from destiny.)

  18. mark
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 6:45 am | Permalink



    What’s become of this thread?

  19. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    “Reminds me of a poem… something about, ‘if you can keep your unicorn head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.'”

    Ha. I just read that with my students last Wednesday, but I messed up on the “unicorn” part.

  20. Posted June 12, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Is that pot roast still stuck in there?

  21. pregnant and zitty
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I came here looking for household cures for pregnancy acne, and found so much more. Seriously, I had not idea that serotonin was produced in the gut as well as in the brain.

  22. Hemorrhoid question
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Hello, what can i placed on my girlfriend’s hemorrhoids to eliminate them? My girlfriend has got really dangerous hemorrhoids and last night i acquired a scalpel and tried to chop them off for her but they just bled so i put a tampon inside her anus anyway we now have tried all the things else like wartner freeze factor and hemorrhoids cream however nothing appears to work they’re are really large for her and so they bulge via her jeans she’s in numerous pain with them.

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